Separate from the settlement in a personal injury case, an injured party may receive payment if they have liability or no-fault insurance of their own. Some of the most common forms of liability or no-fault insurance are UIM (Underinsured Motorist or Uninsured Motorist) coverage, and PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage. Payments under these types of coverage plans, however, are still subject to any lien by Medicare. In fact, Medicare can initiate recovery as soon as they are notified of any payment under any no-fault or liability plan. Thomas J. Nyzio, Medicare Recovery in Liability Cases, S.C. Law., MAY/JUNE 1996, at 20. Click here to view the applicable statute, 42 U.S.C. 1395y(b).
Because Medicare’s right to recover is statutorily protected, it is sometimes referred to as a “super lien,” indicating that they have the right to reimbursement before any other existing lien. Past court decisions have held that Medicare’s right to reimbursement supersedes even the rights of the injured party and the representing attorney. In United States v. Sosnowski, both the beneficiary and his lawyer were held liable for failing to reimburse Medicare after receiving proceeds in personal injury case. United States v. Sosnowski, 822 F.Supp. 570 (W.D. Wis., 1993).
If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident, it is wise to seek an attorney to review insurance policies to ensure that all available insurance is exhausted. Please contact one of our experienced Charleston Personal Injury Lawyers at Miller|Conway (p: 843.764.3334) to set up a consultation. You may also follow us on twitter, facebook and the firm’s website.